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FAQs on Copper Use 2

Related Articles: Copper Use in Marine Systems, Medications, Use of Biological Cleaners, Aquatic Surgery, The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease

Related FAQs: Copper FAQs 1, Copper FAQs 3, Copper FAQs 4, & FAQs on Copper: Science, Rationale/UseFree Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), Making Your Own/DIY Copper Solutions, Measure/Testing, Utilization/Duration, Prophylactic Use, Toxic Situations/Troubleshooting, Copper Product FAQs, Copper Test FAQs, Copper Removal FAQs, Copper Removal 2,  & Live Rock, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Medications/Treatments 1, Medications/Treatments 2, Medications/Treatments 3Antibiotics/Antimicrobials, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges/Dewormers, Organophosphates, Epsom/Other Salts, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Furan Compounds, Garlic, Homeopathic Remedies (teas, pepper sauce, other shams...), Malachite Green, Mercury Compounds/Topicals, Methylene Blue, Metronidazole, Quinine Compounds, Sulfas, Treating Disease, Treatment Tanks, Medications/Treatments II, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Garlic UseAntibiotic Use Marine Disease 1, Puffer Disease,  There are no useful/efficacious parasite treatments that are not hand-in-hand toxic to non-fish livestock.

Copper Catastrophe? I have a concern about copper.  I was acclimating a fish in my reef tank and walked away, when I turned back I noticed that the bag sank.  The fish have been in quarantine with chelated copper.  Needless to say, some of the copper water escaped and is now in my tank.  I performed a copper test, and unfortunately, I have a test kit for non-chelated copper and the copper from the bag was.  The test registered copper off the scale.  Judging from the amount of water left in the bag I would say that one cup of copper water entered into my reef tank.  The tank and sump water volume (minus water displaced by live rock, sand bed etc.) is approximately 160 gallons.  I don't know the exact amount of copper that entered my tank.  My question is, are my inverts/corals doomed?  I don't use/have any activated carbon on hand to start that immediately, the tank will have to wait for about 20 hours until I can get to the LFS after work.  Thanks for any help, and all the help you have already provided through your site. Sincerely,  Daggon <Well, Daggon- it's hard to be 100% certain. I would purchase some filter media that are particularly effective at removing copper, such as Poly Filter or Cupri Sorb. You could also engage in a stepped up water change schedule. It may not be that big a deal, when you take into account the fact that it is water which has already had copper dissolved in it. I'd be a lot more concerned if it were copper right from the bottle that went in. Keep a close eye on things, use the ideas that I outlined above, and observe your tank carefully...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Copper and Scaleless Fish - WWM : I'm moving all my reef fish into a QT tank to begin a serious treatment for ick. I'm planning on using ionic copper, but I wonder if I should put the scaleless fish like the Firefish, blennies and gobies into a separate tank and treat some other way, such as with malachite green? <Not a bad idea.> Any advice would be most appreciated. <Well... scaleless fish can put up with copper, but likely you need to reduce the dose a tad so that they aren't overly irritated by it.> Thanks, SLC <Cheers, J -- >

Cupramine and bacteria Dear Bob, <Joanne> Thank you for your wonderful and informative web site. I have an important and urgent question. Here is the situation. I have a 120G marine tank. Some months ago I had some disease(s) wipe out most of my fish - to date we could not positively identify the disease but I am sure one of them was ich. I am 30 years in the hobby and I think I have some experience - I hope - but it seems never enough. With the fish that survived some ich did too but never serious. The fish and the ich seemed to strike a balance of power and so it did not seem more pressing that to keep the tank clean as usual. <This happens... some sort of induced/acquired immunity/stasis> Recently, because I wish to introduce more fish to the tank (I have two puffers now) I decided that it was imperative to treat the tank with copper. I chose Cupramine as it was most recommended and added it at the recommended dosage. I was assured by the company and the dealers in the local shops here in Montreal that it does not interfere with the biological filtration. How can that be? <Not... does interfere... may destroy entirely> Since its introduction the ich is almost gone with some new generations hatching every few days but in decreasing numbers. My ammonia shot up but oddly not the nitrite which is hardly measurable. Because I want to keep stress as low as possible I chose to use a chemical agent called Prime to reduce the ammonia which it does if I use it regularly. I also added some Cycle to replenish the nitrifying bacteria but I am not certain if the copper has not interfered with that too.  <Will> My question is this. Did I kill the bacteria culture in my filter bed?  <Possibly, or at least sent them into a sort of "metabolic check"> How can I tell? At this time should I worry more about the ich or the ammonia? <Both, equally... as either could be cause for your puffers loss> With many thanks and kind regards, Peter Paul Biro <Do monitor ammonia... consider other treatment modes in future. Will cc Ananda here (our puffer aficionado). Bob Fenner>

Where Has All the Copper Gone? (12/06/2003) Hi,     I know that these issues have been addressed and I have been reading the various postings but did not see the specific brand of Copper I used and I wonder if this makes a difference.  I have a 100 gallon FO tank w/ Aragonite Live sand, 27 pounds of Live Rock, Sea clone protein skimmer, and a 20 gallon Wet/dry filter. Specific gravity @ 1.023, temp: 79 Question #1: I used "Copper Power" and I put the appropriate dosage in (maybe even too much) it says use @ 2.5ppm.  Why is it that when I use my Salifert Copper test kit, I get no readings?? I feel I've used more than enough copper already? Could it be the skimmer, live rock, live sand that is absorbing the copper making my reading negligible??? <Two issues here. First, Copper Power is a chelated copper product. The Salifert test is for ionic and "weakly chelated" copper, so it most likely is not be detecting your (strongly?) chelated copper. Secondly, sand & rock most definitely bind up copper, making it impossible to accurately dose. I strongly recommend only dosing copper in a tank with no rock or sand. Use PVC fittings as hiding places for the fish. BTW, the sand and rock are now contaminated with copper. Do not put them in your reef.> Question #2: I am also still confused on Formulated chelates and Copper sulfates.  <I think Bob answers this well here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm> --- Basically I have a 180 gallon reef tank, and this 100 gallon FO tank is what I want to use as my Quarantine tank. --- Thanks - Brian <You're welcome. Hope this helps! Steve Allen>

Bio-balls and LR, CuSO4 in commercial systems Dear Bob, <Charles> Thx for your advice. Can I place bio-ball and live rock together in my holdings without removing any of them?  Will nitrate level going down? <Yes, and yes, it should> I guess UV light is still cheaper than Ozonizer such as SANDER. <Yes... to buy and operate> What do you think of alternative such as adding Copper Sulphate? Do you know the exact dosage for 1 litre such that it will kill all bacteria but not toxic enough to kill the fishes? <Very dangerous to use copper sulfate on an ongoing basis... if you do get involved in such practice, make your choice a chelated/sequestered variety (e.g. Coppersafe)... I encourage you to develop and adhere to a protocol of pH-adjusted freshwater baths (on arrival) instead to discount the introduction and spread of ectoparasites. Information re these practices can be understood from a cursory reading of materials archived on WWM. Bob Fenner> Pls advise.  Cheers,  Charles

Copper Stopper? Hi Folks: <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> After reading through the questions about how to remove copper. I could not find the answer I am searching for: I have a 300 gal fish, live rock, and some inverts marine tank. As careful as I am somehow I introduced Cryptocaryon to my tank. <Yikes! It can happen...> Because of this dreaded enemy my tanks use no substrate and I still use a large trickle filter. Reason being if and when this foe shows up I can transfer all live rock and inverts to my large refugium which does have substrate and isolate it from the tank. this leaves me a bare tank with a wet dry filter to treat theses dirty parasites. <Ok...Not my first choice, but if it works for you...> When I first remove the live rock from the system I have a watch my ammonia levels as they can rise a bit because the trickle filter is now carrying all the fish load but it usually zeros out in 24 HR. <Good!> I use a product called Copper Power and over the years have had 100% cure rate with this stuff. After about 2 or 3 weeks I remove it from the tank and test to ensure 0 copper levels. Then after 5 weeks return live rock and inverts to the tank. In the past this has worked great. But this is the first time I have used this method on such a large tank. So now I have a 300 gal bare aquarium I am trying to remove all the chelated copper from. 5 poly pads later I still show about 1 PPM on my Kordon  Chelated copper test. Now for my question! Will over time the copper in my tank break down and become nontoxic. I am asking this because 5 more poly pads and or a 300 gal water change is expensive. Do you folks have any ideas on how to remove copper for a system of this size? As Always your Ideas and thought are appreciated, Rick L. <Well, Rick- copper will continue to leach out for an extended period of time. However, at some point, the copper which is not removed may become bound up in substrate, rocks, etc. This is not to say that it won't have detrimental effects on inverts for as long as it's present in the water. I'd continue to use aggressive chemical media, such as Poly Filter and activated carbon. SeaChem also makes a media called Cuprisorb that may be worth checking out. In the end, continued water changes, use of chemical media, and the passage of time will get the job done...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

-Coppered live rock- Hi, I had a discussion with someone about live rock being used in a quarantine tank.  I am pretty sure I heard here that if you have to dose copper, the live rock will absorb it and make it hard to keep the copper at the right level. Is this true, or am I just repeating useless hearsay. <Copper binds to most things it comes in contact with in your aquarium, but depending on how much rock you had, it shouldn't even be a detectable amount. The bigger problem is getting the copper out of the rock since it takes a long time for it to all be out.> We agreed that the copper would kill the microfauna on the LR, but I want to be sure before I tell someone that again, do any of you have a reference for that theory??? <Well, not sure if I can dig up a reference that would say that live rock isn't going to soak up all your copper, but since copper isn't a toy, you need to test and adjust the level frequently. That said, even if LR was a copper sucking sponge, you would already be on top of it. It is also important to note that if you're going to copper the tank, you shouldn't have live rock in there in the first place. The invert die off from the treatment could send ammonia and nitrite levels sky high. Use large diameter PVC T's and elbows for hiding places, and only use live rock when it's absolutely necessary. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Bryan Flanigan

What Happened to My Flame Angel? - 08/24/03 <Hi Luke, PF with you tonight> I bought a Flame Angel two weeks ago with 3 other fish (clown, banner fish and raccoon b-fly). I've quarantined them. The fish got minor Ich a few days ago and I've added Cupramine as prescribed. Ammonia levels 0, nitrite 0, Ca 460, ph 8.3, high alkalinity, salinity 1.023, temp 26C. Ich disappeared after 2 days. <<Mmm, no... just cycled off... It'll be back. RMF>> Today I have noticed that my flame angel was turning white and was swimming kind of on the side near the surface. This was 4 days after adding Cupramine. The other fish are fine. There are no external signs of anything... no bacterial infections, ich etc... nothing...  What has caused this?  IS the fish going to die? I've changed most of the water to fresh, but after 3 hrs there's no improvement. <Well, this could be a side effect of your use of copper. When you use copper you should always test it, and be sure and research the fish and their reactions to it. Clowns for example, are very sensitive to copper. How big is the QT tank you're using, and have you placed some pieces of PVC in their to act as an artificial reef?> Thank you,  Luke <Good luck Luke, hopefully your fish is doing better.>

- Copper in the Main Tank? - After reviewing all of the postings re: copper, I do have a few questions. If I have a 90-gallon fish-only tank that comes down with ich (lets say 4 of 5 get it), you are suggesting that they all be put in quarantine tanks and treated with copper in there? <Absolutely.> Logistically, is this really possible for the average hobbyist? <My friend, I am an average hobbyist, and I've done this with four or five ten gallon tanks, all purchased for the occasion... it really is your best option. All other options are fraught with problems and potential ineffectiveness.> I don't have another 90-gallon Q tank set up for these occasions so I'm not sure what I would do. <Several smaller tanks are actually easier to manage - less need to chase fish around to catch them for dips, etc.> I had always heard that you have to treat the entire tank if you have ich in your tank or another parasitic disease. Also, if that is done, won't the parasite continue to live in your main tank, even if the 1 or 2 other fish have not been struck by it? <Our suggested routine is to remove ALL fish, and let the tank run fallow for four to six weeks. A very large percentage of the parasites will perish in time without fish-hosts.> Will it actually live on them and in the substrate and multiply etc? <As long as there are hosts, yes.> And still be there when your other fish return? <Yes.> I am currently treating my 90-gallon tank with SeaCure after the lone fish I have (miniatus grouper) came down with ich after it had killed a tank mate. Are you saying that the SeaCure will destroy all of my good biological filtration that has built up in my wet/dry trickle? <Yes, and it will also be absorbed by your substrate and rock work, which means the effective dose will be lower than intended, potentially doing your fish no good at all.> I would appreciate your feedback. <Cheers, J -- >

-Sick fish + copper with live rock- Hi guys!! You have proved invaluable to me before and now I have a problem I just don't understand.  I have a 40 gallon tank with 30 lbs of Tonga Branch & slab, a 5" Tobacco bass let, a Blue Damsel, and a Dog face Striped Puffer.   <<Needs much more room... RMF>> Everything was absolutely fine in the tank, no problems AT ALL for over a year.  The last problem, that you guys assisted with, was a Trigger that apparently had some kind of parasite that killed him in a matter of days.  The Tobacco Basslet began scratching and we subsequently treated her and she recovered and has exhibited NO symptoms since.  We bought the Damsel to check and see if she still had anything about 9 or 10 months ago and he has never had ANY problem.  Until now. <Figures, don't it?> I ordered a cleaner package (bumblebee snails, scarlet crabs, snails, emerald & decorator crabs) and a decorator package (gorgonian, mushroom, anemone, finger leather & a crappy "specially picked" coral <Oooh, you know when they pick it it's going to be garbage!> that has never done anything) from Aquacon three weeks ago.  Everything was absolutely fine, the invertebrates acclimated exceptionally well with the drip procedure and I thought everyone was happy.  The only thing I found wrong was an Aiptasia on the "special" coral, but I picked it off. <Excellent, they can take over a tank in short order> Yesterday, I got home and the fish looked frosted.  I assume it is something along the lines of Ick or marine velvet but I am completely puzzled. <Velvet and Brooklynella look like this> I read, possibly incorrectly, that invertebrates cannot carry such diseases.  Does that mean the critters brought it?  Furthermore, none of the water from Aquacon was introduced into our tank and everything was placed by hand from the acclimation bucket to the tank.  I just don't understand. <Is it possible that for some reason after you added all this stuff you got a light ammonia or nitrite spike? Possibly a fallen pH? Although I'm not familiar with the life cycle of velvet, ich settles out in the substrate at times and could definitely be transmitted that way.> I quickly got all of the invertebrates out (which was no easy task to find 30-40 snails!!) and put them in another tank and put copper in with the infected fish. <This should have happened the other way; fish in a quarantine. Now all the critters in your rock will soon be dead, which could create an ammonia spike and a pH drop. The copper will also bind to EVERY surface in the tank and will slowly re-release itself back into the water for a looooong time> The Damsel does not look very infected, the Puffer is COVERED but still swimming like normal, but the Tobacco Basslet (my favorite that I have had for years) is completely covered, red underneath, and has a damaged left fin. <Secondaries> She is sitting on the bottom (she usually does) but is laboring when she breathes. <It's in her gills now, you must act quickly or it is sure to die. Try a freshwater dip.> I moved the invertebrates instead because the she gets VERY agitated when caught (slamming herself against the sides of container) and I didn't think she needed the extra stress in her condition and I didn't think she could take a freshwater bath either. <Well, unfortunately this is the only option that will work with some speed.> We turned the tank off and made sure it would stay dark today so that they can rest. <As in shut down the filtration and water movement? Fire that thing back up immediately or everything is sure to die!!!> Are we doing the right thing?  Is there ANYthing else that we can do?  I cannot bear to lose the Tobacco Basslet, she is the most intelligent and friendly fish we have ever had.  Will the other tank, that has the invertebrates now, get infected? <No worries about the inverts. I do worry about what the fish will be going through though. I would dip the Basslet, and monitor ammonia, nitrite, and pH at least twice each day. When this whole deal with the sick fish is over, we can talk about what to do to get all the copper out so you can try to reintroduce your inverts.> Thank you SO much for your assistance in this matter!!!  I don't know what we would do without you guys!!! <Good luck! -Kevin> Arienne Wyatt

Disease Treatment Dilemma Dear WWM crew, <Hi there! Scott F. your Crew member tonight> I am in desperate need of some encouragement and guidance, and I am truly hoping you can help me here. I am in full support of quarantining new arrivals, (I am one of those aquarists that had to learn the hard way)  however I have not had a lot of success with quarantining. I follow the rules right down to the book, and yet I still lose fish.  Currently I have a 12" Koran angel in quarantine, the first week everything looked excellent, but then those dreaded ich spots appeared.  I did a  partial water change with 24 hour old mixed saltwater, and dosed with Cupramine; again following all of the guidelines.  I tested, and then dosed the next day to reach .25ppm.  I tested copper levels twice daily, and performed daily water changes.  The next four days the ich spots worsened and so did the fish. The directions on the Cupramine suggested the copper level should be .50, so I upped the copper level to .50   A day later my Koran Angel was extremely bad, had very fast heavy breathing, the color was very blotchy, and the fish seemed almost listless. I immediately took the fish out of the medication and acclimated him to water from my established 240 gallon tank.  I cleaned the 55gallon QT thoroughly and filled with water from my 240, I saw almost immediate improvement and although my Koran till has ich spots on him, his breathing is a lot better and his colors are beautiful, he is swimming normally and interested in eating.  What went wrong??  Were these symptoms of poisoning??  Is it possible the copper is "bad" expired??  I bought it 2 months ago, does it have a shelf life before or after opening??   Next question,  where do I go from here??  I believe the Koran needs treating, but I am very reluctant now to treat with copper.  I have treated with this brand of copper before with very good results, so I am left without an explanation of why my Koran reacted the way he did, and very frustrated as I know the fish needs treatment.  Your guidance in helping me save this awesome fish would be so greatly appreciated!!  Thank You!  Thank You!  Jen Marshall <Well, Jen, I guess there are two things that you can do at this point: First, you could avoid using medication altogether and do daily 100% water changes for 3 or 4 weeks, siphoning from the bottom of the (bare) treatment tank...The thought process is that you are bound to siphon out some or all of the tomonts during these changes. No medication required...just diligence and follow-through on your part! Or, you could use a formalin-based product at 25ppm (that's 1 ml of formalin per 10 gallons) for two weeks, with complete water changes every other day. I really recommend following manufacturer's directions to the letter when dealing with any medication...Don't approximate or "improvise" in any way with medications. The results could be disastrous! As far as copper is concerned- some fishes simply don't do well with it...Tangs and Angels are commonly mentioned as being sensitive to copper...Also, the fact that this is a 12 inch Koran is a possible problem in itself...A fish that large (almost a full-sized adult) really has a difficult time adjusting to captive life. In my opinion, it is not responsible for wholesalers to catch, or the dealer to offer, such fishes for sale...Since you have this fish (and obviously have the compassion and level of dedication to keep this it), just follow through with the treatment regimen that you feel most comfortable with! This fish is better in your hands than in just about anyone else's! The fact that the fish is eating well and looking alert is a very encouraging sign! Keep offering him high quality foods, and maintain impeccable water quality in his tank...Hang in there! Don't give up on this fish, or others...But do consider purchasing fishes at a smaller size in the future, as they may adapt better... Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Activated carbon + copper, and disease ID. Hi Crew, Two quick questions. 1) in my quarantine tank I had been running low levels of copper, I have put in some fresh activated carbon into the filter this morning, will that rid the water of the copper?  How long does this typically take?   <Carbon does not remove copper, you'll need a poly-filter or a copper specific resin to get that stuff out.><<RMF disagrees>> 2) In my display tank my fish (2 out of 9) have what originally I thought was ich, but after 10 days the other fish show no signs and the salt sprinkle look on the two infected fish more resembles lots of tiny white dots but around them is a cloudy area.  I'm trying to figure out what this is and what to do. <Could be marine velvet or Brooklynella, both get into the gills fairly quickly and smother their host.> The fish are eating very well, no rapid breathing, in general look healthy.  I have been hoping they will fight off whatever it is instead of catching them and stressing them more. <Well, the fish sound pretty good! External parasites are easily removed, so it may be worth the trouble and stress to freshwater dip the two of them and toss them in the quarantine with the remaining copper for a little while. Hope they get better soon! -Kevin> Any suggestions?  Thanks for the help. Joe

The Trouble With Her Trigger... Bob, <Scott F. at your service today> I have a 90 g. tank with only one Niger trigger, 1 snail, and 1 hermit crab. The trigger had been very healthy, but after putting the hermit crab in (which came from our reef tank - he was picking on others), the trigger started showing signs of illness - listless, not eating, gills hardly not moving. I moved him in to the quarantine tank and have been treating him with copper for 14 days now.  About 4 days ago I saw something white on him that looked like a  parasite.  His behavior is improving, although he has not eaten in over 2 weeks. <Well, I am a big one for the use of copper to treat certain parasitic illnesses (i.e.; Amyloodinium, Cryptocaryon), but it is not a sure cure for every parasitic infestation...Sometimes, the side effects of copper use can outweigh the benefits that you could hope to derive from its use. Some fishes (such as Centropyge angelfishes, for example) don't take kindly to copper. Triggers, as a whole, seem to fare okay- but some individuals may not take it too well. This could be part of the problem here...Always monitor copper regularly when you use it. At this stage of the game, I'd use more "passive" treatments, such as freshwater dips, to treat whatever parasite this might be. I think that to subject this guy to more medication, particularly when he appears to be struggling a bit after copper, could be problematic> He stays in the dead rock I have for shelter.  Should I use antibiotics along with the copper? <Well, you wouldn't want to go dumping in an antibiotic unless you know exactly what you're dealing with...Conduct a full "suite" of basic water parameter tests to eliminate the obvious possibilities (nitrite, ammonia, etc)...> I don't know how much longer he can go without eating.  My next question is can the hermit crab be the host for either ich or a parasite? <It's possible, I suppose. As far as getting the fish to eat- I'd suggest removing him (yet again) to a separate, smaller tank to tempt him with some different foods (such as chopped squid, frozen urchin, etc...). Also- in a separate tank, you could administer vitamin preparations, such as Vita Chem, directly to the water, in the hopes of stimulating his appetite and providing some vitamins for direct uptake.> I'm having trouble figuring out where the disease came from.  The trigger also occasionally ate live fish. <Ahh...there's a good possibility> Can I leave the hermit in my main tank and wait a month for the parasites to die off? <Sure, assuming you're dealing with Ich or Amyloodinium...> I want to go ahead and get more hermits and snails to keep the tank clean.  Should I wait? <I would not be overly concerned about adding more at this point, myself> Thank you for your quick reply! Beth <I think that you can save this fish with quick, decisive action. As long as you identify what you're dealing with, I think that things should work out okay...hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Copper and scaleless fish? (06/19/03) <Hi! Ananda here again...> Things have rapidly moved forward, my main concern was with whether or not the treated water would be fine for my purposes.  I got the info not to use copper, which is a bit unsettling because Bob mentions how well in works on puffers in his TCMA book.   <Puffers and scaleless fish can easily be harmed by an overdose of copper. With the CORRECT dosage, copper is okay -- but it is VERY easy to overdose! Further, copper tests may not always be accurate, and many hobbyists are not willing to test for copper twice a day, every day, for as long as they use it. So the usual recommendation about copper and scaleless fish is to avoid it completely -- there are other methods that usually work.> I have since switched immediately to Formalin to treat what is an external parasite.  Thanks for your help! Ryan A. <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Sudden Deaths with Copper 6/16/03 Wet Web Crew, <cheers> Copper Safe was added to our aquarium for the treatment of ick. <yikes! never dose the main display... always and only a bare bottomed Qt/hospital tank. Copper in the main tank ruins calcareous media and kills many harmless or helpful organisms including your biological filter> As an amateur saltwater hobbyist I realized after a few days that this was harmful to our starfish and did a water change but the starfish did not recover. I know now that the copper will remain on the live rock and in the gravel indefinitely. The next day all the fish in the tank were dead. Do starfish let off toxins that could harm other fish? <not very likely with Echinoids><<Asteroids. RMF>> I would appreciate any information you could give me on this subject. Thank you, Nancy Butler <the fish mortality more likely had to do with an overdose of copper or simply a virulent pathogen. Please do read through our archives on proper QT protocol (follow links and FAQs too) starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm best regards, Anthony>

Working With Copper Thanks for the response...  I've moved the fish to the treatment tank with SeaCure copper treatment after a five minute freshwater dip last night. <Excellent procedure...Treat the fish in a separate tank!> This morning the fish that aren't hiding are twitching a little...does a copper treatment effect fish behavior?   How can I discern copper treatment behavior from the stress of the catch and dip? <Well, if copper is negatively affecting your fishes, you'll often see some physical manifestations, such as damage to the skin, possible heavy breathing, and obvious distress. I would not be overly concerned about the "twitching" that you're observing, as long as the fishes are otherwise okay, and as long as you are monitoring the copper levels regularly to assure that they are at proper levels.> The wrasse did a header into the glass during his dip and he seemed to be listless this morning. <Well, remember- freshwater dips do induce  some stress/shock on fishes...some handle it better than others. However, if done correctly, the dip process is quite safe and generally harmless to most fishes> How little room for error is there on the level of copper in the water? <Really, IMO- not too much. Copper is a reliable, effective, and largely safe cure for Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium, but you absolutely have to monitor the level of copper in your water to avoid killing your fish!> Does carbon, like in the Magnum 350 I  have on the treatment tank, effect copper levels? <It will remove some copper, so be sure to test and maintain a proper therapeutic level in the treatment tank> Please explain the difference in the types of copper treatments in relation the copper test kits available.  I used a Red Sea test kit...I've never had good experiences with their test kits and I'm going to get another one today. Thanks for all your help, Damon <Well, Damon- this explanation would fill the page! Fortunately for you, the WWM site has lots of information on the use of copper, and how to test for it in your aquarium. Do a search of the site and you'll find more information than you could imagine on this topic! It's good reading, and very important. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Don't Treat The Tank- Treat The Fish! Good Day, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> Thank everyone for the knowledge shared on this site, it has helped immensely as I establish my first saltwater system. Unfortunately, my six month old system has developed a case of ick. <Yuck...not a fun thing> I recognize  it from my freshwater days.   This site, thankfully,  saved my new saltwater friends from being poisoned with Rid-Ick from my LFS , purchased as soon as I saw the outbreak. <A common impulse, but I'm glad you held back!> As I prepare to move my friends to a quarantine tank for copper treatment, I have a couple of questions... In my main system, I have two spray crabs (named Phillips and Phillips ) and an urchin (Colonel Sanders). Will ick infect them, too?  Can they be moved into a copper treatment tank, or can I leave them in the main tank? <They will not be effected by the Cryptocaryon parasite. Under no circumstances should you place inverts in a system where copper is present! It's highly toxic to them!> I am concerned about moving them to the treatment tank, both because I don't want the treatment to kill them and the treatment tank is only a 29 gallon long, and it will be over crowded with all my fish from a 180. <Just leave 'em in the display tank!> Which brings me to my last question, will over crowding in a treatment tank cause additional problems?  I will have one harlequin tusk (2.5"), one brown Sailfin (2.5"), one yellow tail blue tang (2"),  two 1.5" yellow tale damsels, two 1.5 " false percula clowns and a 4.5" lunare wrasse in the treatment tank. At their present size, the 180 was big enough with hiding space, but I'm very concerned about their life in treatment. <Well, it will be somewhat crowded, but you can keep water conditions stable and water quality high with frequent water changes. Of course, if you're using copper sulphate, you would need to monitor the copper level with a good test kit, and replenish the copper with the water changes to maintain a proper therapeutic level> Also, the treatment for the main tank shouldn't harm the crabs or urchin, will it? <Woahh...I think you might have it reversed...The medicating should take place in the treatment tank, not in the display! You'll simply leave the display "fallow", without fish, for at least a month. This will cause the parasite population to crash for a lack of hosts...You won't need medication in the display, nor should you medicate it! Too many potential problems (collateral damage, maintaining therapeutic levels, etc.). Do review the disease FAQs on the WWM site for more on the "fallow tank" technique...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>   Thank you for all your help. Damon

Proper Copper? (Using Copper Sulphate Correctly> Hi, hope you can rescue me again :-) <Scott F. at the ready!> First of all , I took your advice and bought a bare tank, transferred my fish to that tank. I've spend $60 buying all the pepper-based anti-parasite products - they all suck sh*t. <Well said- a bit more colloquial than I might have said here- but accurate, nonetheless!> I also dosed Mardel CopperSafe as prescribed at 5ml/4gallons. <I like this product, myself> Now, I have tons of questions, hope you can help me out :-) Thank you, as always. <Ready to give it a shot!> - First of all there seems to be no info on what will be concentration of copper after the recommended dosage... would you happen to know? My local aq. supplier does not carry copper kits :- <That's a major handicap...I HIGHLY advise that you refrain from using copper without a test kit...If improperly dosed, the results can be fatal> - Is the copper removed by skimming? <Not to any significant degree> - I've heard that ionic copper is better for Ich and Velvet (marine), is that true? <I have not heard this...> - How effective is CopperSafe against Brooklynella (Clownfish disease)? <Not very, IMO. I'd recommend preparations containing Formalin/Malachite Green> - I'm still not sure if my fish have Ich or Velvet... is there a simple way to distinguish the two? <Well, "Velvet" (Amyloodinium) has distinctly different symptoms than Ich (Cryptocaryon). Fishes with Velvet will generally fail to feed, exhibit rapid respiration, cloudy-looking fins, and sort of "hang" in the tank, facing current. It's quite easy to distinguish the two...Velvet is far, far more lethal, and time is critical when executing treatment. Both are quite contagious> - After adding the CopperSafe, when should I expect the white dots to disappear? <Hard to say, but you'll usually see a radical difference within 48 hours. However, you need to keep copper in the water for about two weeks to really affect a cure> - Finally, could you please tell me what is the right concentration of the copper so it would be effective in marine bare-bottom tank, against Crypt (Ich) and marine velvet? Everywhere I read is seems to say different... :-( Are there different concentrations for chelated copper and ionic one? Is ppm same as mg/L ? <Well, Coppersafe is recommended at a concentration of 1.5ppm to 2.0ppm, and Cupramine is recommended at a dosage of 0.5ppm (1ml per 10 gallons). Follow manufacturer's instructions TO THE LETTER when using ANY copper product. Don't "guestimate" or "wing it"...accuracy and testing are vital. To answer your second question- a part per million is equal to a milligram per liter. Just like it sounds, a "part per million" is one part in a million parts of something. One milligram per liter is the same as one part per million when the reference volume is water...> - How stable is the chelated copper sulfate? I mean after 4 weeks, will the concentration of the copper sulfate (chelated) still be the same as the first day (with skimmer)? <Well, that's why you need to test constantly when using copper. After every water change, it may be necessary to replenish the copper to keep the level constant, and at the correct therapeutic level. These products are quite stable, if used as directed> - And the last question... I've heard that formaldehyde/malachite green combo is very effective against Clownfish disease... if one would add this combo to a tank with chelated copper, will formaldehyde/malachite green in any way deactivate or convert chelated copper ? <I do not know of any interactions between these two substances, but my thinking is that you don't want to mix different meds together. Since copper may not be as effective against Brooklynella as Formalin/Malachite Green, and can actually be damaging to some fish- why use it at all if it is not required> Huge thanks as always, Luke <A pleasure, Luke! Good luck in your efforts. Do make use of the many resources on WWM to get more information on these topics. Regards, Scott F>

He's Into Heavy Metal...(Copper Use) I'm about to start a "Cupramine" Copper treatment. The directions call for a 14 day treatment. Is this the maximum fish should stay in a copper-treated tank? <Well, I would avoid exposures much longer than 2 weeks, particularly with fishes such as tangs, which can suffer damage to their digestive fauna after long-term exposure> Can I be absolutely sure the parasites will be gone in 14 days if I siphon the bottom of the tank often? <Unfortunately, with ich, there are no 100% certainties...I'd say that with a combination of proper copper treatment and siphoning, the odds are certainly in your favor> I was just wondering if I could dose longer because the display tank has to remain fishless for a month and a half anyway. Also the directions state to leave a concentration of 0.5 mg L. Is this the same as 0.5 ppm, which is the unit of measurement on my Salifert test kit. As always thanks for you help.  Angelo <Angelo, I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter when using copper (or any medication, for that matter)...Use the remaining "post-treatment" time to "fatten up" and condition the fishes before their re-introduction. If it's not necessary to continue the treatment after two weeks, I would not subject the fishes to additional stress...Hang in there! You're doing fine! Regards, Scott F> To Treat, Or Not To Treat (And with What?) I recently acquired a powder blue tang (24 hours) and there are some small brown spots appearing in the body of the tang.  The tang is about 3 and a half inches long.  I live in a rather remote area and I had the tang shipped in with out my chance to view it first.  The tang was entered into a fish only system that has been cycled and had a clown, a damsel, and a pair of royal Gramma's living in it (peacefully and with no sign of disease) The system is comprised of a 75 gallon tank, two Fluval 404's, a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer, with a added air pump for lots of aeration.  The water quality is as follows, 1.024 specific gravity, ammonia 0 ,nitrite 0.1, nitrate 20ppm, pH 8.2 ,water temp 77 degrees. The system is 3 months old. <Recheck the nitrite, okay? It should be undetectable on your test kit...Just make sure...> Do you suggest a copper additive or what exactly am I dealing with. <Well, I am very pro copper, but I don't recommend proceeding with the treatment until you have confirmed what you're dealing with...Best to isolate the fish in a separate aquarium for further observation and eventual treatment. If it turns out that this is a parasitic infection, then copper is my medication of choice> I have a neon goby I acquired with the PBT specifically for parasites, might he be my cure? <Well, not a cure- but maybe a preventative or "treatment aid". It couldn't hurt to have a neon goby available, but I would not rely on it as the sole "treatment"...> And well I'm asking will the SeaClone do the job, if you're familiar with this protein skimmer? Thanks Bill <Well, Bill- the Seaclone has a reputation among many hobbyists as being an "underachiever"; failing to provide consistent skimming action. On the other hand, I have a friend who uses one on his (coincidentally) 75 gallon system, and it cranks out cup after cup of dark foam...I guess that it's all about how it's adjusted, where it's located in the system, etc. It would probably not be my personal choice- but if it's cranking out consistent, stinky stuff, it's a "keeper", as far as I'm concerned! Hope this helps! That's it for now! Scott F> 

Copper Capers? Could you please give me a list of fish on which I should never use either hyposalinity or copper medications on? I know some of the larger angelfish, triggers, puffers, and some tangs can take it.  What about butterflies, gobies, blennies, and dwarf angels? <Well, I am a big fan of copper sulphate as a cure for parasitic diseases, but, as you surmised, not all fishes take it well. Tangs, for example, respond well to copper for short periods, but if they are subjected to prolonged exposure, their digestive fauna can be damaged, which can cause serious health problems down the line. Only expose tangs to copper long enough to affect a cure. In my experience, most butterflies seem to do okay (some don't, however), as do some of the larger blennies and gobies. Dwarf angels, on the other hand, do not always fare so well with copper. Formalin-based medications would be better. If you test for copper concentration, you'll at least have a better picture as to what is going on in your tank> The reason I am asking is that now that I got the hang of things I am trying harder to keep species such as powder blue tangs and various butterflies and angelfish, I'd hate to kill them using copper. <A good goal. Of course, as big a fan of copper as I am for treatment, I do not endorse its use on a prophylactic basis. I'd rather use freshwater dips and quarantine...> And one more thing that I know a whole lot of hobbyists are confused about is the ppm of copper needed to cure some parasites.  Now I know that you guys always say that .8 ppm is the highest any fish can take. But if you look at most of the copper manufacturers directions they suggest 1.5 - 2.5 ppm. You guys always think that the hobbyist has "misplaced" the decimal point but we haven't.  Weird stuff, what do you say? Thank you Dinesh Patolia <All very valid points. To make it more confusing, there are kits that measure "free cupric ion", "total copper level", or chelated copper, etc....I have always used Mardel CopperSafe, myself, and have followed the manufacturer's directions to the letter, and it works for me. I guess my point is- always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and ALWAYS test for copper with a kit that measures the type of copper which you are using...For more on copper use, check out this FAQ:  www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Copper Trouble? I have a 120 gallon aquarium, that I treated with copper about 5 months (quite possibly longer) ago.  When I was done treating the tank, I put activated carbon in the filters to remove the copper.  Since then I have broken down that particular unit to set up a 120 of another dimension. I used the same sand and some of the same water to set up the new unit. The tank has been cycling for about two weeks.  Originally with the first week of just sand, we tested the water and found the cycle had finished, so slowly we have been adding established rock to that system in order to gain more biological filtration for the tank.  Today we noticed that two anemones are disintegrated and the serpent starfish that hitchhiked on a rock is losing its limbs and its body looks as though it is splitting at the seams, however, the starfish still is able to move and does move fairly well.  I tested the water perimeters and found the specific gravity to be 1.022, the pH is 8.2, ammonia is .25ppm, nitrites are .25 ppm, and the nitrates are 30 ppm.  There has been no change in perimeters over the last 5 days, the critters have only been in there for 3 days.  Could the copper still be in the system from before? <Yep- quite possible...However, in addition to possible problems from the copper, it sounds like the ammonia and nitrite are contributing to the problems you're having with the animals! I usually add all of the live rock and sand at one time so the tank only cycles once...> Basically I used CopperSafe for the recommended dosing for the all fish, 120 gallon system.  I followed the directions exactly and have not had a death in that tank prior to breaking it down.  Also, if the copper was  still in the sand, would I need to break this new tank back down and buy all new sand?  Or, what could I do to remove the copper? <First- a bit of advice (based on my own bungled work with copper over the years!): Always test when using copper. The medicine that you used (Coppersafe) is good stuff...But you still need to test to verify that you are maintaining the proper therapeutic dosage of copper. As far as removing copper, activated carbon may help a bit- but you're better off utilizing a more "dedicated" filtration media, such as Poly Filter or Cuprisorb. Poly Filter actually turns blue to let you know that it's absorbing copper- believe me- it works! Copper can continue to leach over time...chances are, it will be in very small quantities, but it could cause problems down the line...> Do you think it is even a problem with the copper? <As above- I think that it's a combination> I do not have a test kit to check my water because the fish store told me that their test does not check all types of copper and my medication type probably would not show up on the test. Your experience and reply would be greatly appreciated, Thank you Denise Ward <Denise- just keep up regular water changes, aggressive maintenance, and other common sense procedures, and your tank should be okay...Do get a test kit to monitor copper levels...Yes, there are different kits that measure different types of copper- but it is vitally important to maintain correct copper levels in your tank while treating fishes...Please don't treat fishes by "the seat of your pants", as they say...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Copper, Ich, and Fallow Tanks I still am not certain why I cannot treat with copper in my main tank. In theory, won't treating with copper kill all the ich in the tank?  Why must the ich on my fish be killed in quarantine, and the ich in my tank killed by waiting for it to go over a month w/o having anything to infest (and won't the fish, if still in my main tank, not become infected anymore anyways due to the copper)? Thanks again, guys. <Good questions! It's a bad idea to treat with copper (or any medication, as far as I'm concerned) in the display tank for a number of reasons: First, copper tends to become "bound" up in the rocks and substrate, which will make it difficult to maintain a proper therapeutic level of the medication in the display tank. (hence the reason that copper sulphate is best administered in a bare "hospital" tank) Also, copper is very toxic to invertebrate life, and may continue to leach into the system over time, making it a risky prospect to keep these animals in the future. Sure, you could use specialized filter media to remove the copper (like PolyFilter, etc.)-but, why put yourself in that situation to begin with? The reason that we recommend letting the tank go "fallow", without fishes for a month or more is because ich, being a parasitic disease, requires a host (i.e.; your fishes) to continue its life cycle. By removing the fishes, you have effectively deprived the parasites of their hosts, disrupting their life cycle, and reducing the parasite population dramatically. Sure, it's not 100% successful (no treatment is), but it is very, very effective at reducing the parasite population to a level that most otherwise healthy fishes should be able to withstand. Sure, if a constant level of copper is maintained in the display tank, you could prevent this disease effectively, but the detrimental effects of long-term copper exposure are to great to ignore. Bottom line- use copper- but only in a dedicated "hospital" tank! It works, if used correctly! I'm putting the finishing touches on an article about this very technique that should be up on the site soon; hopefully, it will answer more of your questions. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Live Rock & Copper Is live rock, when used in a quarantine tank with CopperSafe to treat marine ich, still "live"?  Or does the copper kill off all the little critters in the live rock, essentially turning it into inert but porous rock?  Once your copper treatments have been completed, does restoring the live rock to freshly made salt water, without copper, restore its live qualities? (if they were ever gone...?) <NO! The calcium carbonate the rock is principally made from fixes and absorbs the copper making the rock unsafe for further use with invertebrates, etc.  Use only bare bottom tanks with inert hiding places, PVC, plastic, etc.> I ask because there are some fish that eat prepared or frozen food, but feed by pecking at live rock (like scooter blennies or mandarin fish); how can you quarantine them for a month without starving them? Thank you. Jeffrey M. Zegas <Good question Jeffery. Many fish have different QT procedures. Copper is not always used or required.  The best way to find out what is best for each is to search on each on WetWebMedia.com. Bob includes much useful info on introduction of each fish. Some Blennies, Gobies, etc.. including Mandarins do not get copper and are best purchased from reputable dealers where they have been observed over a period of time, then placed in an appropriately set-up QT (live rock/no copper for some) for at least two weeks and preferably three, or dipped as needed. Please read more at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm Hope this helps, Craig>

Heavy Metal-Heavy Problem Hello <Hi there! Scott F. here with you today> I have a large(6") toadfish. I have had him for about a year and I also have a large lionfish(6"),large panther grouper(9")and a Sailfin tang(5")a Koran angel(3") and a large domino damsel(5")All in a 125gal aquarium all glass. <That's quite a few fish in there...you may need to move up to larger quarters for these guys in the near future, huh?> I have to twin tube strips actinic and 50 /50bulbs and probably like 130lbs of live sand and about 75 lbs of live rock. My question is this: I have copper in tank and is at right dose. My toadfish quit eating and he sits at bottom of tank not hiding under live rock (as he use to) and has his mouth open I thought it was a parasite causing my fish scratch. <Well, assuming it was a parasite, copper is definitely a good treatment. However, for many reasons, I think that treating a display tank with any medication is a bad idea. In the future, please remove all afflicted fishes to another tank for treatment.> They don't anymore. I don't know what to do because he wont eat so I cant treat him with food med .I have 2 Fluval 404's a magnum 350. and a 400 Emperor, also a protein skimmer . I don't know what to do please get back to me as soon as possible. It has already been like 2 weeks. Thanks <Well, here is the scoop. As you are surmising, some fishes do not take kindly to copper (or other medications, for that matter). With this being said, the larger problem is the removal of the copper from the system/system water...I'd begin with some moderate water changes, and liberal use of activated carbon and Poly Filter throughout the system. These media (Poly Filter in particular) have a great affinity for removing stuff like copper from the water. Test copper levels regularly for quite some time...Consider removing the fish that is not eating to a separate aquarium for a little TLC. Hopefully, this will do the trick. Remember- always medicate in a separate tank, and only for as long as required to affect a cure. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: somehow i have copper hi i have a 90 gallon tank.  its been setup for about 7 months.  i have been having a real problem keeping cleaner shrimps alive.  three have died within a week from different sources.  after banging my head against the wall i decided just for the heck of it to have my tank checked for copper.  guess what......there's copper even though I've never dosed copper and i use a ro-di for all water.  the level is reading .2ppm  ( i think that's the unit).   <Mmm, have you tested the source water... I suspect you have a false-negative reading here... that the test kit is faulty> well after talking to my LFS they asked me if i had a check valve.  well i do and i purchased it from the local hardware store.  the LFS said there is a spring in it that will leak copper....any truth to this?? <A copper alloy spring in a spring-type check valve? This is new to me. Have never seen copper used in these units. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/chkvalvpds.htm    if so is this essentially the same type of copper that is sold for ich treatment or a diluted form?? <Mmm, yes... copper is an element... all copper compounds used in fish medications (or any other application) ultimately rely on cupric ions as their source material.> the reason i ask is in the tank i have snails, 2 conches, a crab, and mushrooms that all seem to be fine.  shouldn't these all be dead with copper in the water?? <Likely so> I've read the copper removal faq on your site.    i am going to do water changes, run carbon, and a PolyFilter....anything else i should do?? <Sounds like you've got a good handle on the removal. I would check your test kit... with distilled water. Bob Fenner> thank u so much Matt

- How Long does Copper Last? - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Hello Crew, I'm Robert, in need of some advice about Copper in a reef system. Please don't freak out on me, I have not used in in my Reef system. The question is about Copper and its effects, and how long it stays in a tank. <Ok...> I used to have a Saltwater Fish only tank (90gal.) to be exact. I have used Copper in this tank for treatment of saltwater ick. Now I have since setup a Reef system in it. Now mind you this has been 5yrs now as a reef system, and the tank was down for 3 months while we moved across the country to our new home. Since we moved last year to a bigger home, I have seen a real huge difference in my reef system. My mushrooms are going crazy, I have had a pink tip frogspawn propagate with numerous little ones. So my question also is out of all the info on Copper and it saying in effect that in "Bonds" with the silicone in the tank, why has mine done so well?? <What typically 'bonds' with the silicone in the tank is the organic dye that is an additional ingredient in most copper solutions. Silicone in general doesn't react to copper.> I must admit I have not tested my tank in over 3 1/2 yrs for anything. Yes you read right. I'm sorry, I guess need to be a better husband to my tank. <Well... would give you some better perspective on what's actually going on in there, wouldn't you agree?> Also with the same breathe my LFS loves my stripped mushrooms for their color, and the few frogspawns I have brought in for them. A big reason I ask the questions is that someone purposely dumped 3 bottles of Copper in my LFS display tank, And I was wondering , and have read that all the things I.E. live rock, deep sand bed have to go. can the live rock be used in a Fish only tank? and can the sand also be used in the bottom of these tanks as not to waste all of it?? <Here's the skinny - rock and sand DO absorb some of the copper. This causes two problems: One, if you are trying to treat a disease, then the dose is off because a portion of the copper is being held in the rock and sand. Two, the copper is then slowly released from the rock over time - and so invertebrates and nitrogen-reducing bacteria are subjected to toxins that can cause their death. The most common effect seen from this is the inability to restart the biological filter... the sand and rock are not junk, but really can't be used in any system for several months, and even then should be suspect. Whether or not that system is a reef or not matters little - long term exposure to copper is bad for just about anything - some fish go blind from this. So... should one be careful, for certain. Should one have a quarantine tank around to avoid dosing copper in the main tank - you bet!.> Thanks for your help Robert <Cheers, J -- > PS I'd be glad to give you more info on my reef tank if needed. <No worries.>

- Re: A little too hypo-saline - I am currently treating with CopperSafe and Maracyn 2 my spg is currently at 1.016 <Joe, you're still holding back on the details. How much copper? Do you follow the directions on the bottle? What about water changes? You do realize that with these treatments in quarantine, there is no hope of establishing a biological filter... so to avoid ammonia build up, you are doing large water changes at least every other day, yes? Preferably every day? Please detail your quarantine regimen so I can better answer your questions. Cheers, J -- >

- Copper and Live Rock - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Chris here again in need of your expertise. My question is in regards to adding some new live rock in order to seed my system and build my biological filtration back up. Since I have had copper in the tank, would it damage the new live rock if I added it? I used PolyFilters to get all the copper out and it is now undetectable in my water. <Then it is likely safe... I'm guessing that by undetectable, you mean you tested for it...> I am worried though about copper leaching out of the old rock and sand and ruining the new rock if I were to add. Is this a concern I should have? <Is a valid concern - you might want to consider making a cure tank - just a Rubbermaid bin - to keep the other live rock in for another week or two and continue running the Polyfilter on the main tank with questionable live rock.> Thank you so much for your advice. Thanks ~ Chris    <Cheers, J -- >

Copper sensitivity 2/8/03 Oh, ye Guru's of Tropical fish.   I've been searching your FAQ's but find nothing that will tell me what fishes are especially sensitive to copper.   <do read though FAQ's... frequent mention of scaleless fishes, small scaled fishes, Firefish, dragonets, high hats, drumfish, croakers, seahorses and pipefish, angels (dwarf especially) and butterflies, many more> I'm just getting started again, and I know that sooner or later, (much later I hope), I will have to treat one or more fish in the quarantine tank.   <do understand too that copper is only effective (although very much so) on just a few parasites at best. Many other mendicants or treatments are far more likely. Copper as a wonder drug is old-school and more importantly... inaccurate. Keep copper handy for Ich. Familiarize yourself with freshwater dip protocol... be prepared for daily water changes off a bare-bottomed tank for effecting cures and maintaining water quality, etc> I remember that some fish won't tolerate any copper, while most will.  Is there a "list" anywhere that will help with this? <Hmm... not familiar with one. I personally favor using Formalin for all that copper is good for and then some><<If infested animals are returned to the same setting after formalin dipping, they will become re-infested from the resting "off fish" phases there. RMF>> Thanks! Neil <best regards, Anthony>

Copper Dear WWM crew:   Greetings & ongoing thanks for your superb site! <You're welcome> I recently learned that my LFS continuously runs copper in his FO tanks to cut down on parasites. Is this common practice in the industry? <Yes, common... even in public aquariums> Is this a good idea? <No, not really. Would be fine if this were a part of "step 2" in a strict ongoing quarantine process for all incoming fishes... part 1 being just holding fishes in a separate system and going to pt. 2 should they show evidence of parasitic infestation...> Should I be concerned about its affect on the fish? I have not changed my quarantine practices. Thanks, Steve Allen <Mmm, well, I am inclined to encourage you to purchase "short term" exposure fishes (a few weeks) and avoid longer-exposure (month or more) ones. This "middle ground", not too new, not too over-exposed will serve you best> P.S. I was at my local Petco last night & noticed that they had two tanks (shared filtration) full of clowns with white spots all over them and fins rotting off. They were not that way the other day. The young woman working there hadn't noticed and doesn't know jack about saltwater, so I told her she'd better let whoever is in charge know that they have a serious problem in those tanks and the ones connected to them. I guess I won't buy saltwater there any more. <Don't give up proffering your knowledge, advice... for all's sakes. Bob Fenner>

- Why oh why? - Hi guys <Hi, Joe... JasonC here.> Despite conventional wisdom, and for numerous reasons, I treated my display tank with copper (.015-.02) in an effort to eradicate Ich.  It is now two weeks into the treatment and I still see a few spots present.  Should I continue treatment, change methods, give up, and is this usual? <Well... the reasons for isolating fish for treatment are myriad. In your case, what has likely happened is that your substrate and other decor is absorbing some of that copper so that the 'treatment' is not at an effective dose/level to actually kill the ich. If I were you, I'd get my hands on a 10 or 20 gallon tank and isolate the fish you want to treat in a bare system, perhaps with some PVC pipe as decoration. In the main system you will probably need to run poly filters or activated carbon for a couple of days to weeks... you might want to get a copper test just to monitor when the copper has leached out of the substrate. Also keep an eye on the various nitrogenous wastes as it is quite possible to do some damage to your biological filter with the copper.> Just in case you need the info my temp is 82.5, 8.2 ph, salinity 1.021 and everything else in line. Happy New Year! Thanks, Joe <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Possible Ich Problem (Not sure) Thanks for your advice but as I had stated I have inverts in there. How long after treating & running the tank empty for a month can I put the inverts back in because to my understanding inverts will die in water that has the copper (ich medicine) in it? <Please read starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm following the linked files (at top) where they lead you. Bob Fenner> Kim

Ich Problem Now when you say to keep very good water quality, what does that mean?  I have some people emailing me saying what I did was wrong.  And do I have to perform water changes?  The guy at the store told me not to do a water change and leave him in there a month?  Please help! <When I say "very good water quality", I mean that you should make sure that accumulating organics are kept to a minimum, that detritus is removed regularly, and that temperature, specific gravity, etc. are maintained in a stable manner. You can still maintain a water change schedule while a fish is in treatment, but you need to use an accurate test kit to assure that you are maintaining copper at a therapeutic level, and adjust as needed. There are a lot of opinions out there-mine is certainly not "the only way", however, what could be healthy about maintaining a heavy feeder and sizeable metabolite producer like a puffer in a small quantity of water for a month with minimal filtration and no water changes? To me, that will create more stress, greater risk of secondary infection, and generally cancel out most of what you are attempting to accomplish with a treatment protocol. Copper is not a panacea, either, but it is very effective if used properly ("properly", of course, means continuous monitoring of copper levels with an accurate test kit, and following the manufacturer's instructions carefully).  Sure, there are alternatives to copper, but do study them thoroughly to assure that what you're doing has a realistic chance of working. Keep reading the FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information. Good luck! Scott F.>

Ich copper in tank Well, Mr. Fenner I am so glad you took the time to look at the posts and respond to me. <Me too.> It has been quite a world wind here the past days and many tear have been shed :(  We lost a lot of fish including our large lion and large puffer.. my sweet baby.. I guess I have some questions to make sure I do all I can to prevent this from happening again.. I know it could anyways but I want to be educated as best possible.. This is what happened and how we responded. Where did we go wrong (now I know some of the mistakes).. It started when the Lion stopped eating about two months ago.. he went a week and then started again but still was never quite right.  Let's see now looking back it was shortly after we put three new fish in the 125 gallon tank (without quarantining them) :( :(  Two little blennies and a coral beauty.  One blenny died the next day which tells me him was sick and could of started the problem.  The other fish were all good to my knowledge for the next month, then it hit.. Starting with the other blenny, then the coral beauty fish died, , the day after the needle nose butterfly... all hit fast!  Wed did some large water changes.. As the readings were off a little.. Then the puffer started acting sick and that is when I freaked.. We started looking for advice online and from four different pet stores to only get overwhelmed by all the contradictions.. We started fw dipping them and then bought a 20 gallon hospital tank.. We made a real big mistake by treating the main tank with copper... though we did take out our LV rock and put it in the hospital tank.  Things were getting worse with puffy and the lion.  So we decided to move the LV rock out of the hospital tank and put in t he two big fish who seemed to have all the symptoms.. kept the temp at 82, slowly raising it.. did not change the water in-between rock and fish so that may have caused the  high ammonia.. did a water change the next day... and added copper to the hospital tank.. water is in a bucket with air.. which don't know what to do with that either.. some say it needs water changes other don't.. well it looked like things would be ok.. puffy was eating and looked better then he had.. like he was healing... active etc.. lion turning pure white and not good.. the next morning lion was dead and puffy was breathing hard.. came home from work and puffy dead.... <You understand the value of quarantine now... and not placing copper in your main system, not with live rock or carbonaceous material... and the consequences of placing life in settings where there is insufficient filtration...> now we followed the directions on the CopperSafe bottle and even put in a little less because of copper and puffers etc..  we can not find a test kit to test the copper.. the chelated kind where it stays1.5-2.0 .. so my gut says he died of copper poison...... I know I am getting long winded so I guess now that we have a 20 gallon tank with nothing in it.. a bucket of LV rock and a main tank with copper.. what do we do.. By the way the main tank still has an eel, an Naso tang, two triggers and two damsels.. who are all seeming to be in great health...live sand on the bottom.. or dead sand now... where do we go from here...to get back on track again? <Let all run as it is for a good month.> And when you get new fish in the future we should qt them in that smaller tank for two weeks correct.. and should there be a small amt of copper in them or is it just to observe them and make sure they are ok????? <The latter> it has been a long week of hours of trying to learn how to do best for our fish... i feel like we are not skilled enough to keep a 125 gallon saltwater tank right now and my confidence is way down.. .Please help! <You are doing fine now>   This was a 500 dollar loss of fish, not to mention a heart breaking as I love my fish so much!  We only had this tank 7 months so are very new.. have some books and are trying to learn!   Thanks so much for caring and taking the time to help........ <Best to leave the temperature in the main tank high, not add any more copper... and hope for the best for recovery of your main system microorganisms. Do monitor ammonia, nitrite and be ready, with pre-mixed seawater to make a water change if these approach 1.0 ppm. Please do read here in the meanwhile: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the linked files beyond. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich copper in tank <Let all run as it is for a good month.> So we should leave the copper in there for a good month too or start taking it out in two weeks... <<Let it dissipate on its own. No need to chemical filter out. Bob Fenner>>

Re: Ich copper in tank <Best to leave the temperature in the main tank high, not add any more copper... and hope for the best for recovery of your main system microorganisms. Do monitor ammonia, nitrite and be ready, with pre-mixed seawater to make a water change if these approach 1.0 ppm.> Sorry, after reading this I see I should leave the copper in there and not add anymore...... but don't I need to get something to eventually get that copper out so I can put the live rock etc.. back in there.. <<Yes. You will see how much (detectable) copper is left in solution at the month's wait... If there is any, then you can use activated carbon, Polyfilter... to remove it. Bob Fenner>>

Ich copper in tank Is a small sponge filter enough to have on a 20 gallon qt tank.. where the filter is right in the water? <... the only way to tell is if it's "working" per the given "load" (metabolic activity) in this setting... If the unit is processing (nitrifying) sufficiently such that there is no detectable ammonia and nitrite... then yes... if not, no. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked related FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich copper in tank <You understand the value of quarantine now... and not placing copper in your main system, not with live rock or carbonaceous material... and the consequences of placing life in settings where there is insufficient filtration...> Where is there insufficient filtration.. on the qt or on main? We have 2 canisters that should be more than enough for main tank.. and a sponge filter on the qt.. is this enough or should we get more somewhere?? <<The evidence of insufficient filtration I am referring to is your statement of measurable nitrogenous wastes and their ill-effect. You likely need to either cut back on feeding and/or increase biological filtration>> Should we put the live rock back in the qt tank for now as long as we are not getting new fish.? <<Yes, I would. Bob Fenner>>

Mysterious Fish Losses Hello Scott? <Good morning!> Well thank you for the supportive words about it not being my fault about the sudden Anthias death, the dealer replaced them with 3 Banggai cardinals. <A nice choice! Very accommodating of him/her> I did the same welcoming freshwater ph adjusted with methyl blue dip, and they were fine for 3 days but today 2 of them died.  All of my levels still check out as being good but this is four fish in less than a week, it makes me so sad. <I'm really sorry to hear that...> I do not have copper in my quarantine tank which the dealer said is a mistake, but I choose to see if the fish is sick before treating with medicine but maybe this is costing lives because I am not detecting illness soon enough. <Well- I respectfully disagree with your dealer. I am very pro-copper, but I don't like to use this, or any medication on a prophylactic basis. IMO, medications should only be used when treating a specific disease. Many fishes do not handle copper well, and some fishes can suffer greatly after prolonged exposure to it. I like your procedure of the freshwater/Methylene blue dip. I have never lost a fish using this procedure. If a fish is so far gone that simply not using copper during quarantine led to its death, something is wrong. Either the fish were not healthy to begin with, or there is some other factor at play> In my observation of the cardinals, I thought I only saw one of them that ever ate, although this is hard to say for certain because they all look the same.  I was feeding frozen Mysis.  I think the one that ate is the one that is still alive.  Also today before they died they had white trailing feces, I thought maybe a bacterial infection.  I gave them another dip and they died shortly after.  So I have this one survivor, I don't think he is eating any more and I saw some white feces, so what should I do for him, or is he a goner?  Should I try Maracyn or Maracyn 2, or copper in case of parasites, which I don't see any signs of but I could be missing something.   <I agree- sounds like an internal bacterial infection. Antibiotics should be used. Hopefully, the fish will make it. Generally speaking, these types of infections usually are the result of poor water quality, parasites of some sort, or even injury. I'm not going to point fingers, but I wonder how the overall water quality is at your dealer. Does he seem to select healthy fishes? Sounds like something is not right...> Also if by some miracle he lives, (I am not feeling very optimistic any more) will he be okay by himself or should I try to find him a mate? <I would either keep them alone, or in odd-numbered lots (3, 5, etc)> I have read contrasting things about this.   This hobby is very stressful for me, I hate when any type of living thing dies.  I was so happy and proud of myself after saving my first two fish from ich, through a 2 month hospital and copper and fallow period and now they are so healthy and happy back in the main tank, but now I can't keep any new fish alive for more than 3 days, what is going on?  Like I said all my levels check out and I am doing stuff by the book (Bob Fenner's').  I don't think I will get fish from that dealer any more in case that is the problem, he runs copper in all his tanks and thinks I should too.  Any advice will be greatly appreciated, you guys really are wonderful helping everyone like you do.   Thank you.  Kylee Peterson <Well, Kathy-first of all, don't blame yourself...You are using valid techniques of dipping and quarantine, and it sounds like you're well-disciplined in tank maintenance. It is never pleasant to lose any fishes, but you are doing a great job. I strongly disagree with your dealer about running copper on a continuous basis in your display. It simply is not a great idea for long-term use. Maintaining therapeutic levels of copper is tough enough in a bare quarantine tank for most people, so trying to do this in a tank with rocks, sand, etc. is really tough! And, if you ever intend to keep invertebrates of any kind in the tank in the future, copper will be a constant concern. Your desire to avoid this dealer is a good one, IMO! These losses are too similar to be coincidence! Hang in there, Kathy- you're doing just fine...Unfortunately, bad experiences like this are part of what make us better hobbyists in the long run. Good luck! Scott F>

Medicating with Copper We are treating with Coppersafe right now and our water is cloudy.....is that normal? We have also put in Melafix.... that is what we were told to do? Our Coppersafe is at the correct levels, just wondering if it causes cloudy water? <Hello, the cloudy water could be caused by a heavy bio load, insufficient filtration, or over feeding.  If you are medicating with Coppersafe in your main display tank the substrate is going to absorb all of the copper and destroy your biological filtration, which could also cause the cloudy water.  Copper in a display is pretty much useless, quarantine the fish in a QT tank and let the display run without fish for 4 weeks.  Frequent water changes will help as well.  Best Regards, Gage>

Copper for ending/escalating troubles Thanks again for past and future help.  <As usual you are always welcome Rich!> The only fish demonstrating problems was my blue tang and coral beauty. I began copper TX, but I think I killed the coral beauty with the copper. The test kit I have doesn't appear to work well, and I am using an ionic copper test (from Red Sea) and copper sulfate.  <Ahhh, do make sure you are using the proper test kit for the type of copper you are using...more on this at WetWebMedia.com. Red Sea makes a combo kit with test kit and copper that works pretty well.> The other fish are doing well. They went for over 1.5 weeks without TX, do you think I need to continue copper? Or could I continue to watch for another 2 weeks and if no signs of disease replace them in my main tank? <Treat for two weeks then two weeks without to be sure all is well> The other question I have is: since removing all fish from my tank for 2 weeks now, I've noticed tons of what I think are copepods. Aren't these what mandarin gobies live on. I know they generally don't do well, but given the apparent abundant food supply (130-150 lbs of live rock) would you consider adding one? If so, how do I go about it given they wouldn't likely survive a 4 week quarantine in a bare tank? Thank you, Rich. <These rarely do well in captivity (very poor record) and require old systems of 150 gallons with this type of productivity. I can't say I recommend them. Craig>

Copper Treatment Hi Craig/WWM crew, I just asked you some suggestion on hyposalinity and increase temp in my main tank to prevent ich. Surely enough after reading your response, I checked my Sailfin tang and I saw white spots on its tail, pectoral fins and some on it's body. I immediately took him out of the main tank to my hospital tank which has copper in it (using Cupramine). The fish has been in my QT for 2 days now and the spots seems to be disappearing. How long do I have to keep the Sailfin in my QT with copper? <Two weeks with copper and two weeks without.> And how do I get rid of copper in my QT? <Polyfilter or one of the commercially available copper filters will work. I use PolyFilters. (See WetWebMedia.com sponsors. Most carry it.> The Sailfin is not eating any flakes, Mysis or seaweed. When he was in my main tank, he graze on the LR (algae) almost constantly. Would my tang survive the ich but die with starvation. <He will eat.  Try formula flake or Tetra medicated (anti-parasite. Mine get addicted to the tetra medicated. I just bought two Sailfins and neither ate for a few days but both started taking formula 2 flake and then the medicated food.> What can I do to make this tang eat again? And what about the neon goby and the lawnmower blenny in my main tank (no white spots on them yet) do I need to remove them out of my main tank too. They very hard to catch and I don't want to stress them anymore at this time. Thanks again...........Jun <Hmmm, they may act as ick hosts and re-infect your Tang upon reintro to your main tank. They are also sensitive to copper treatment. The best plan would be to dip them and QT them in a separate QT from the Tang (who is in copper). They could be observed and QT'ed for the same 30 days (maybe with your cleaners, etc) the Tang for 30, and the main fallow for 30 days. This is the problem with putting fish right into the main without QT!!!! I don't think you will do that again!  The blenny and goby  complicate things some. Unless you have proven cleaners I would go the QT route. Do try to find the Tetra medicated anti-parasite food.  It is discontinued, so E-bay or an older, established fish or pet store is your best bet. Call around. The blenny and goby will eat it too, although it may take a while for the blenny.  You might want to read more on treating ick at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm  Read all of the links and FAQ's, much needed info contained there.  Good luck Jun! Craig>

Using Cu to control algae in a marine system Sir, With your expert advice and guidance, I was able to successfully thwart an outbreak of ich using copper in my saltwater fish-only display tank. In fact, I didn't lose one occupant!!! (I know, you said to get a quarantine tank and I am working on it!) <Good> During the 14 day treatment regime, I noticed that virtually all traces of algae stopped growing and eventually disappeared, making the tank look much nicer!!! Is there any harm in continuing to use copper to control the growth of algae? If so, what level should I maintain in the tank to prevent harming the fish? Thanks again!!!! Mike Basciano <Large/public aquariums do use copper compounds to both control nuisance algae and epizootics... But I caution against this in residential/hobbyist settings... it's too easy to "get into trouble"... and to some degree poison ones fish livestock while thwarting the algae... Better to look to other control mechanisms (limiting nutrients, providing predators, competitors...) as listed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm Bob Fenner> Copper Test, Cupramine Hello Bob, <Scott F. this morning> I'm starting to treat my 20 gallons SW tank (1 yellow tang with ich) with Cupramine. I added 2 ml of medication per instruction. I'm using Salifert to test for copper level but it shows zero. <Seachem indicates that an effective therapeutic dose of this product is 0.5ppm> The tank does have aragonite substrate. <The manufacturer advises that some copper may fall out of solution in tanks with rock/substrate. Always best to treat in a quarantine/hospital tank with no decor> My question: Can I use this test kit to test for copper level when treating the tank with Cupramine? If not then would you please recommend me another brand? As always, thank you very much for your help. Dzung. <I'd actually recommend the SeaChem test kit when using this product. Follow their instructions exactly, and you should be okay! Do consult with Seachem directly if you have other questions/concerns about this product. They are good people and are quite helpful. Good luck!>

Can you help with ich? Hope this the right address for Q&A!!! Hello, <Hi Vicki> I have recently discovered what appears to be ich in my 75 g tank (on a Sohal, porcupine, and Klunzinger Wrasse). I tried removing them to a 10 g. quarantine tank treated with Coppersafe (I followed instructions EXACTLY!). My fish were fine for about a day...then WHAM, they all started breathing rapidly, sitting at the bottom of the tank, and looking generally awful. My wrasse was on his last fin, when I decided to get them back into the main tank. All have regained their vigor, but also retained their ich. <A 10 gallon QT is a little tight for these guys, depending on their size....> What am I doing wrong?! I already tried Sea Cure Copper for ich on a dwarf angel--same results:(. Again, I was meticulous following those directions! My water tests fine for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. I am afraid of copper now, and am feeding anti-parasite food/doing freshwater dips to keep the ich at bay. Have also added a UV sterilizer for future problems. I think I'm getting ich-obsessed. Please help me--I don't want to lose another fish! Vicki <Alright Vicki, you need the copper and more importantly, you need the test kit for the copper you have. PLEASE go to WetWebMedia.com to the copper FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm ands read the faq's about the types of tests and the copper they test for. Maintain the free cupric ion at 0.25 for two weeks and test daily. DON'T overdose!!!!! I bet you have too much copper. There are a ton of links and FAQs on copper at wetwebmedia. The tests can be had from most of the wetweb commercial sponsors. Craig>

Lionfish not Copper safe I'm sorry one more question. Is my Lionfish OK to be in a quarantine tank with CopperSafe? Thanks again for your excellent help. <lionfish are small scaled fishes and as such are very sensitive to organic dyes and metals. They overdose easily on copper. Use formalin if necessary in QT for parasite control. Best regards, Anthony>

Anti-Biotics in Seawater Dear Sir, <we appreciate the greeting, but no need... we work for a living <> I am currently treating my fish-only saltwater tank for a pretty bad case of Oodinium (white velvet) with copper sulfate.  <Oh, no... not in the display?! Ughh... You'll need to dose twice daily and test at least once daily to even have a remote chance to keep copper levels at a therapeutic level. Gravel, sand, rock, decorations all absorb copper and ruin the substrate (leaches copper in the future)! All medications are to be dosed in a proper quarantine tank, my friend. Please do research and purchase/employ a good QT system in the future. It will save you great pains. New fishes are to be run through here for 4 weeks to prevent the introduction of diseases too> I was wondering if there is a recommended anti-biotic that I should also be treating my fish with to fend off any secondary infection?  <not in the display... the copper is killing enough of your biological filter> It is also my understanding that most anti-biotics cannot survive with the copper sulfate in the tank,  <not correct at all. Most all antibiotics are compatible with copper. Bare bottomed QT tanks for this of course> I was just wondering what the proper procedure is. Thank you so much. Mike Basciano <please do browse are archives at WetWebMedia.com starting on the home page and navigating your way through the pertinent marine topics (QT, disease, etc). Much wisdom to be shared here. Best regards, Anthony>

Treating with copper As far as in-tank hiding places while treating with copper, can I use lace rock, as I have a bunch laying around? Thank you again for your time and assistance, Rich. <no lace rock or porous material whatsoever... especially calcareous matter (shell, rock, gravel)... it will absorb copper and reduce efficacy of the treatment. Plastic only (like PVC fittings) for hiding places. Best regards, Anthony>

Dwarf Angels, Copper Treatments I'm sorry to keep bugging you. <<No worries.>> Do I need to adjust copper dosage for dwarf angels or just proceed with normal dosage. <<I wouldn't unless this particular fish is especially small and potentially a juvenile. Even then, I wouldn't reduce it by much.>> Thanks Rich. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Copper treatment Dear Jason, <<Greetings,>> I have another question about a problem that I had 4 months ago. In my fish only tank, I had a Cryptocaryon irritans infection. The fishes had few points on the body but in prevention I decided to treat the aquaria with copper. 2 days after the treatment my 25cm Holocanthus ciliaris lost is equilibrium, began to breath very quickly and dead on few hours (with no crypto) The next day it was the turn of my Chaetodon semilarvatus who began to breath quickly and died in few hours. I decided so to change a great part of the water of the tank and the deaths were stopped. Do you know if angelfishes and Butterflyfishes are more sensible than other fishes to copper treatment? <<Well... not more than any other, but if you treated with too much copper, or enough to also wipe out the biological filter, this could have created an ugly soup of water issues that would affect both of these fish. Certainly in high concentration, copper would be bad for just about any life in the tank.>> Is there another fishes sensible? Are the symptoms of my two fishes due to the copper treatment? <<Indirectly, I would say so. Best to always dose copper and like therapies in separate, bare quarantine systems. The decor in the display tank can and often will absorb part of the item you are treating with and then leach it back out over time. Here's a good article to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> Thank you very much. Cheers Pascal <<And cheers to you. J -- >>

Copper and coral again I may be crazy, but I thought I was told that if I used CopperSafe in my tank that it was free floating and would NOT absorb into my rock and crushed coral.  <that is complete crap... whoever told you that was ignorant indeed (as in not-knowing, although I wonder about some of the turnips at LFS I have met)> Although it would explain why I can't seem to get inverts to do very well in the tank. Tell me I am not crazy and that what I heard was right....I hate to think of trashing 110 lbs. of coral and a ton of my rock. thanks Robert <sorry, bub... but medication of any kind should NEVER be used in a display tank. That's what quarantine tanks are for, my friend. a proper QT is 4 weeks and the display tank unmedicated runs fallow without a host for the pathogen in the interim. Your rock is "poisoned" by copper. Still not to be wasted... you have choices, The rock can be used in fish tanks or any aquaria where inverts cannot crawl across the stained media. Or... you can use a bunch of poly-filters for months to slowly pick up liberated copper and resist buying any more snails, anemones, corals etc for many months until it all clears up. The rock is still biologically quite useful. best regards, Anthony>

Copper Treatment Hi Robert, <Hello. Steven Pro in today. Anthony is off to wine country in CA, leaving without anyone to eat sushi with.> I have written to you in the past and have always received very valuable feedback from you on many issues and I have say thank you so much for your help! As hobbyists, we are very fortunate to have your expert help and advice making the hobby so much easier for the beginner aquarist! I have a question about copper treatment. I have a beautiful 180 gallon fish only setup, (thanks for your advise on most the equipment to use) with a really nice assortment of fish which includes a Hippo Blue Tang, Large Bi-Color Angel, Large Auriga Butterfly, X-mas Wrasse, Velvet Damsel, and 2 Chromis. I do not intend on adding many more fish because I don't want to overstock. <Ok> The tank is about 4 months old, was doing just great until I added another banana Wrasse, who apparently infected the tank even after 2 weeks quarantine. <Two weeks is the absolute minimum. Only ok if the fish was in perfect health the entire time and ate the first day. One full month is better and required if you have any troubles at all.> I suppose the wrasse stressed out the others because he is such a bully at feeding time, (pushes everyone out of the way). So I returned the Banana Wrasse. I just started copper treatment last week because I noticed the Crypto Ick was picking up on the Blue Hippo and Butterfly, (which is typical) and I had to fresh water dip the Butterfly a few times. So I am following directions, testing at around .015 ppm each day. I would think this is the correct amount based on directions. The Ich looked like it was completely gone after 3 days. I am on day 6 now and I see more Ich on the Hippo. Is this normal for it to come back? <Normal to come in waves because of the lifecycle of the parasite.> Should I up the treatment level to .020? <You should follow the directions.> In 14 days of treatment will the tank be completely rid of Mr. Crypto? <Maybe> If any, what are the 'long term' affects of copper... on my fish specifically? <There is a possibility of copper affecting the intestinal in fauna of your fish making complete digestion and absorption of vitamins difficult. For that reason copper has been implicated as a contributing factor in HLLS.> Thanks. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Unknown Parasite in FO Tank I have started the copper treatment and everything seems to be going along well. However, I do have one more question.......Should I have my skimmer on or off during the copper treatment? <<Off...>> I have turned it off for now until I hear back from you. It's just a small air driven unit but I wasn't sure if it would "pull" the copper from the system or not so I figured it would be better to err on the side of caution. <<And you just fine ;-) >> I await your reply....and many thanks (again)! Leah <<Good luck. Cheers, J -- >>

Copper Treatment I am at the end of treatment now with the copper on my 180 and I believe I have saved many precious lives!  <very good to hear> At one time I thought my butterfly and hippo tang were goners for sure but I was patient and through much perseverance, all fish are now 100% ich free! Thanks for the help.  <our pleasure> I was reading over the FAQ's at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm on Lateral Line Erosion and I am concerned more so for my Imperator since he is loosing color.  <ever improved diets often help. Home recipes can be quite awesome too!> Before I began treatment of copper I removed about 20 lbs of live rock & small amount of Caulerpa from my sump. I just added the copper remover carbon and a couple of Polyfilters hoping for a quick removal. It's been about two days and I just did a copper test and it still reads out at .015ppm. How many days approx. does it take to remove most all of the copper before I start adding the live rock and Caulerpa back in the sump?  <weeks to months... can be slow> I know how beneficial in so many ways the live rock will be and I would like to get it back in there soon.  <agreed> I do realize the rock will absorb some of the copper but is it enough to cause significant damage to the bacterial colony?  <very much so> When is it a good time to start adding the live rock & Caulerpa again?  <Minimum 4 weeks likely... water changes and a little fresh rock later would be quite helpful too> Do I have to wait months or days and do I add all of the live rock back in one bunch or perhaps 1 rock per day to prevent from ammonia spike? <water changes at this point... indeed weeks for copper removal without very large water changes. Anthony>

Ich in gills? Hello doctor, Tomorrow I complete a 14 day copper treatment @ .25ppm. One of the only two fish that have been affected by this disease is what you call a very hardy fish: the raccoon butterfly. Several weeks ago while experimenting with a system to lower my tank temp, I allowed my tank to drop about 6 degrees at night for several days. Of course I have paid the price for that mishap. The raccoon after 2 weeks of treatments still scratches his face against rocks and such, and he occasionally darts and has labored breathing. <Likely from the treatment as much as the parasite> He is, and has been the only fish to exhibit these symptoms. Believe it or not, I have a four eyed butterfly that has not been affected in the least, also several gobies. Am I on a wild goose chase? Have I been treating for the wrong disease? The only other fish showing any signs of illness is my bi-color angel. The band over his eyes is looking rough like it is missing scales. He has never scratched. He also seems to have a slight red line around his mouth and just below his dorsal fin. None of these fish have displayed a lack of appetite. Thank you for your help, as always, Steve <Copper treatments are good, all around for epizootics. I think you've probably done about the best you could. I would discontinue the copper (after the two weeks use), and utilize a cleaner organism, supplemented foods to bolster health. Bob Fenner>

Dosing Copper Hi, I am using CopperSafe & in the instructions mentioned 1 teaspoon to 4 gallons of water. I have followed the instructions. Is it necessary to use a copper test kit to check the level or can I rely on the measurements given? Thanks, Ragu <No, always best to double check with a test kit to ensure adequate dosage for it to work while not overdosing. -Steven Pro>

Re: Dosing Copper In the CopperSafe instructions, it says a total copper level of 1.5 ppm - 2.0 ppm is maintained if instructions are followed. Is this too high? I have read in the FAQ's that it should be around 0.20 - 0.25 ppm is this correct? Ragu <It sounds like a difference between chelated forms of copper and ionic copper. I am more familiar with ionic and that is what the FAQ files reference, usually copper sulphate and citric acid. I would get a test kit that is recommended by the CopperSafe manufacturer, I believe that is made by Mardel. You may need a test that detects this particular form of copper. My second thought is this, are you sure you got the CopperSafe for saltwater? Mardel makes two versions and I know the freshwater one uses the dosage of 1.5 - 2.0 ppm. -Steven Pro> 

Dosing Copper III I am sure it is for saltwater as it says saltwater CopperSafe. Excerpt from the instructions "copper levels are commonly measured as free or as total copper. Saltwater CopperSafe's unique formulation maintains a total copper level of 1.5 ppm - 2.0 ppm when used as directed." Maybe it don't understand what it means? <No, probably is just the difference between measuring/dosing ionic copper and chelated.> The instructions recommend test kits made by Hach Company to accurately monitor total copper levels. // ragu <Hach makes some very nice test kits, some of the best. -Steven Pro>

Copper Treatment/Quarantine Hi All, <<And hello to you...>> First a BIG Thank You for your web site! Your dedication to this hobby is outstanding. I have learned so much from your site. <<Well thank you.>> With that here is my situation: After learning the hard that I need to qt all new fish I got ich. I battled and won. When I bought my newest fish I decided to qt this time. I set up a new 20 gal with pvc and a millennium 2000 wet/dry. I used water from the display tank. I put 3 hippo tangs in the qt because I wanted to add all 3 at the same time. 2 are medium (3.5") and one is smaller. For the first 10 days I did a 20 to 25% water change every other day and all was well. On the 11th day the dreaded ich monster showed up and bad. I took some water to the LFS and had it tested. The ammonia and nitrites were very high. I was told to do a full water change and dose Coppersafe. I did that and proceeded to do a 25% water change every day this time (again using display water). Now 7 days after I started the Coppersafe my ammonia level is 2ppm and nitrites is off the scale. My LFS suggested I now put the tangs in the display tank as it is a better option that poisoning them in the qt. This sounds too soon. <<it does, but their point about water quality in the quarantine is spot-on.>> Should I continue with the qt and do a 50% water change daily for the remaining 7 days of copper and the 2 weeks of no copper risking the bad water conditions or risk the display tank by adding them to the display now. <<Hmmm... tough call. You may just want to give a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip and place them in the display. For future reference, you want to keep feeding to a minimum, with daily vacuums to pick out the uneaten portions. Likewise, you might want larger, more frequent water changes in quarantine... there's just no way you'll ever get a biological filter running in tandem with copper treatments.>> Thank you in advance, Robert <<Cheers, J -- >>

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